Youngblood's Fried Chicken Secret Recipe

UPDATE 2023:

Larry Bell provided me with this information on Leslie's Fried Chicken, a precursor of the article below.

Leslie's Fried Chicken from Larry Bell

My friend, Paul Galvani's book on Lost Restaurants of Houston came out in May 2018.

He interviewed family members and writes about Youngblood's, beginning on page 171 of his book, and provides an updated recipe based on those interviews. It's a much simpler recipe than the one indicated further on in this piece.

Youngblood's Fried Chicken Batter
1/4 cup salt
1 cup milk
1 cup buttermilk


Dissolve salt in the milks. Dip chicken in the milks, then in the flour.

Amazon - Lost Restaurants of Houston by Paul Galvani

The people working for Youngblood's Fried Chicken back in the day went on to create their own, now famous, fried chicken franchises. Here is some information that I found on the web that needs to be preserved for future generations.

Kay Potts advised:
"Ok, people, here it is: 

This is the recipe for Leslie’s Fried Chicken, my mom and dad worked for both and they both used the same recipe

Have a bowl with flour, we have seasoned it a bit with white pepper and a bit of salt, to taste.

Dip your chicken pieces in the flour and then dip in the following mixture and back into the flour.

1 Cup powdered whey (Baking type- sweet powdered whey)

This is not readily available in grocery stores, we found in online at

3/4 cup powdered non/fat dry milk

1/4 cup salt (was a little salty- I might reduce this slightly next time)Try using just half of this or less, depending on how much you put in the flour.

2/3 cup water (I had to guess on the amount of water)

This mixture needs to be thin, the combination gives it the batter texture.

Dust chicken in flour, then into wet mix, then back into flour, shake off excess, cook in oil at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Evidently the whey is what gives it the flavor. We have also used buttermilk powder in place of the dry milk and whey and it comes pretty close! This works best in a deep fryer, rather than pan frying.

The crust is amazing, holds up well a couple of days in the fridge."

  • This is kind of interesting. I was going deep in the internet and came across a forum that was discussing Youngblood's > Leslie's > Church's Fried Chicken recipes. Both the Leslie's and Church's chains came out of Youngblood's. Here, supposedly is the secret recipe in industrial portions.
  • "You are not going to believe the original proportions. They used 7 lbs. salt, 2 lbs. whey, 1 lb dry milk. I asked him how they could use so much salt and have it taste good. He said it was mixed in a lot of water in proportion to the salt but that it still tasted very salty. Later they reduced the salt but he didn't know exactly how much. He said to add salt to taste which he said would be somewhere around 2 cups whey, 1 cup dry milk, and 1/4 cup of salt. It still tasted too salty to me and their measurements were by weight not by volume. So the only consistent thing we have is the 2 lbs whey and 1 lb dry milk, then salt to taste. This is all for the liquid part. I asked him if they seasoned the flour at all and he said they did not while he was with Youngblood's. When he moved to Denver and started the Drumstick chicken restaurants they did season the flour some but I don't know with what yet.
    He said when he makes fried chicken at home he puts white pepper and salt in the flour, then mixes 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. water for the wet mix. He dips the chicken in the flour, shakes off excess, dips it into the egg/water mix, and back into the flour, shakes off excess, then into 350 oil. 
    The other thing I want to try is to find cottonseed oil. They used it at Youngblood's and Leslie's because it was the cheapest and he said it lasted longer than the other oils. He said it didn't make any difference in taste but I can tell a difference between peanut oil, vegetable oil, and Crisco. So I wonder if the cottonseed added anything to the flavor. Another thought I had was that he was at Youngblood's in the 50s. I would imagine the recipe changed with time so they may have been seasoning things more in the 60s. I know Leslie's started using buttermilk in their wet mix. 

    Lots of fried chicken to experiment with! It may take us all but at least we have some direction. I really like the taste of the sweet whey in the mix. It added a flavor that is very nice."
    John Dupree Comments:
    "Interesting. You call this Church's Fried Chicken, but you follow none of the recipe of the real thing. Not saying yours is bad chicken, but it just ain't Church's. I used to manage for them like 30+ years ago, and the first thing you have to do is marinate the chicken. The commercial recipe was 30 gallons of water, 25 lbs. of salt, and a 1-lb. "flavor packet," a euphemism for pure MSG. It marinates for 22 hours. We then cut the chickens up and panned the pieces. Coldness is the key! Chicken must be cold, and the batter must be ice cold! If the batter or chicken isn't cold, coating will fall off during cooking, and the shortening burns the chicken. Dredge the pieces in flour, dunk them in the cold batter (a very thin, watery mix I never learned the ingredients of), and dredge the chicken in flour again, and into the vegetable shortening, 340 degrees for 13 1/2 minutes."